Year of The Pig from Royal Mail
Royal Mail have announced the eighth Generic Sheet in their Lunar New
Year Generic Sheet series to be issued on the 15th November 2018. The ‘Year
of the Pig’ runs from 5th February 2019 to 24th January 2020.
The labels are designed by hat-trick design and feature paper cut-outs
both on the bright red background of the sheet and the labels representing
the five elements of Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth. The pictorial
labels depict Lunar New Year festivities taking place in five UK locations
and the remainder show five generic images related to the Lunar New Year.
All the labels are complemented by the Fireworks definitive stamp. The Pig
is the last of the 12 animals featured in the Lunar New Year with 2019
being the “Year of the Earth Pig,” and purports to be a year of
fortune and luck also a year of friendship and love for all the zodiac
signs; an auspicious year because the Pig attracts success in all the
spheres of life. With Brexit looming let's hope so! (05/10)
Jersey Post Commemorative Sheet
A new Commemorative Sheet has been issued by Jersey Post to coincide
with the second RBC Super League Triathlon Jersey which took place
September 2018. The sheet contains twenty Jersey stamps affixed to stamp
labels featuring images from the 2017 event.
An annual event, RBC Super League Triathlon Jersey is a new
championship series combining the three core triathlon disciplines but
with an alternative approach to the Olympic standard. Points are awarded
for three individual stages: the Triple Mix, the Equaliser and the
Eliminator rounds. The world's best triathletes compete against each other
in a mix of grueling short-course tracks and Olympic speed-racing during
the event which is broadcast live to millions across the globe. We have a
limited number of these sheets in stock priced £27.50 + incl. UK pp.
interested please e-mail me in the first instance to arrange
The jungle drums are often responsible for inaccurate messages so don't
blame the messenger but rumour has it that the STAMPEX organisers (PTS)
has two new designs in hand for next year's STAMPEX events and possibly a
third for the international exhibition planned for 2020, although the
drums are fainter on the last point. I'll update you as soon as I
have more news but this adds an interesting twist to the demise of the
Business Customised Stamp Sheet, whose reported demise may have been
Harry Potter Mega Issue Announced
Today, Royal Mail announce their autumn mega issue which for a second
time features the characters and films of J.K. Rowling's Harry
Potter. Royal Mail's press announcement explains the rationale behind the
"The critically acclaimed Harry Potter films have attracted
huge audiences worldwide, with the popularity still prevailing even though
it is seven years since the last film was released.
Harry Potter remains one of the most popular and enduring themes
worldwide and along with the Star Wars franchise has close to universal
awareness in the UK. These unique stamps have been produced in association
with Warner Bros and The Blair Partnership – an agency that represents
J.K. Rowling - to celebrate the critically-acclaimed series of
The stamps not only feature some of the most popular characters
including Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny and Neville Longbottom but there are
also five Hogwarts professors contained on a Special Miniature Sheet. Also
appearing on the stamps are selected portkeys as well as the most iconic
modes of transport amongst them being the Hogwarts Express, the motor bike
ridden by Hagrid, the Knight Bus and the Triwizard Cup.
The stamps also use the official Harry Potter font denoting the “1st”
class service. Some Special Features on the stamps include the official
Harry Potter font denoting the “1st” class service. We’ve also added
a little extra magic and intrigue to both the stamps and the Miniature
Sheet which can be seen under UV light."
Most products will be issued on the 16th October 2018 with the
Prestige Booklet and Limited Edition Prestige Booklet following on the 4th
December 2018 to coincide with the release of the latest Harry Potter spin-off,
Fantastic Beasts 2. Royal Mail's marketing strategy now
includes a significant "push" into the collectibles and fan
based markets to complement their philatelic pursuits. Needless to say
probably less than 5% of the products produced will ever see action on an
envelope which is sad given Royal mails long and illustrious
That said, there is a wealth of products to choose from: mint stamps,
prestige booklets, retail booklets, mini sheets, first day covers,
presentation packs and a whole host of fan based collector items but the
product we are interested in is a collector sheet (generic Smilers sheet
to you and me) which features all 10 new stamps alongside labels featuring
various aspects of the films and their characters.
The A4 sized collectors sheet features all 10 new stamps along
with labels showing film stills from the WB film archives. The sheet comes
with a protective backing card and clear plastic cover. The self adhesive
sheet is competitively priced at £7.70 (£1 above face) and is probably
as good a sheet as I have seen from Royal Mail. The collector sheet is
self-adhesive (the stamps in the set are water activate gum), printed in
litho by International Security Printers. Under UV light the magic comes
to life as this image shows. (27/09)
2018 Christmas Smilers announced
Royal Mail have unveiled their 2018 Generic Label Christmas Smilers
today which goes on sale on 1 November 2018 priced £17.50. As in previous
years it will consist of a combination of different stamp values from the
planned Christmas issue, also out on the same day. The Generic Sheet
contains eight 1st Class stamps and eight 2nd Class stamps together with
one each of the other values £1.25, £1.45, £1.55 & £2.25 complete
with a wintry illustration in the background.
Royal Mail advise : "The set of 8 Christmas 2018
stamps highlights how ‘Royal Mail delivers Christmas’; showing scenes
of everyday life involving a range of post boxes in different wintry
settings, from towns to countryside.."
A rather romantic view of Christmas in my opinion, which
looks more like an oversized Victorian Christmas Card than a reflection of
modern day Britain. Perhaps this is what Britain will look like when we
have left the EU! Royal Mail Product Code is AT105. (20/09)
New Themed Smilers from Anglesey Cinderella Stamps
Martin Husband, who fronts up Anglesey Cinderella Stamps, has
written and advised of four new Themed Smilers sheets, either recently
issued or planned over the coming months.
Two themed sheets using the Glorious Scotland format with revised
stamps (Saltire) were issued on 1st September 2018 and feature two
Scottish Islands and their respective local geological features.
- Isle Of Mull - Durart's Castle, and
- Orkney - Stones of Stennes
Two further sheets are planned over the coming months with the first of these scheduled
for 1st October 2018 featuring Isle of Anglesey - Church-in-the-Sea and the
final sheet due out in January 2019 featuring the Shetlands based Up Helly Aa
All the above sheets are priced at £40.00 plus p&p
and can be ordered via Martin at his website - click on link above.
United for Wildlife Commemorative Sheet
Royal Mail have announced the issue of a "Commemorative"
stamp sheet to be released on the 10th October 2018 priced £15.95 from
The Royal Mail press release informs us that .....
"United for Wildlife is one of many projects
created by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and
Prince Harry. Led by The Duke of Cambridge and with the help of
ambassadors from around the world and key partner organisations, it unites
the world ¡s leading wildlife charities under a common purpose: to create
a global movement for change. The organisation is committed to:
Better On-Site Protection for wildlife.
Reduce demand for illegal wildlife products.
Improve law enforcement.
Work with the private sector to reduce trafficking.
In 2014 United for Wildlife created a Transport
Taskforce, of leaders from the global transportation industry, to
identify opportunities to break the illegal wildlife trade chain
between suppliers and consumers. Royal Mail are members of this
Taskforce and work with enforcement agencies to support the action.
Engage young people with conservation."
All highly commendable and worthy perhaps of a Royal Mail
stamp issue but I don't understand why they have chosen a commemorative
stamp sheet as their chosen vehicle. I do not recognise the event or
occasion it commemorates so as a subject for a series of Commemorative
Sheets that Royal Mail originally stated would be to commemorate events or
occasions not covered by the Royal Mail stamp programme is in my opinion
absurd and has more to do with commercially opportunism than a social consciousness!!
Royal Mail have effectively eliminated all competition by abandoning
their Business Customised Stamp sheet service which would have happily
covered this topic and raise money for charities in the process (RIP Tony Buckingham).
Don't get me wrong, it's a nice sheet and I am sure 100's
if not 1000's of Royal Mail customers will buy. No doubt 100's more thematic
collectors will be compelled to add this to their wildlife collections but
is this really an appropriate subject for Royal Mail to cover based ont he
Commemorative descriptor for this product line? I would be interested in
your comments so have posted this article online on my blog page and you
can dip in with your comments and thoughts.
If you think I am just having
a rant let me know. If you agree with me then let me know your thoughts at
Smilers-info Blog Spot (08/09)
250th Anniversary of Captain Cook's Voyage aboard HMS
This year is the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook's voyage of
discovery aboard HMS Endeavour and Royal Mail will be marking this event
with a set of new stamps and mini sheet due out on 16th August 2018.
At Ridgewood, we have decided to mark this event with a limited edition
Themed Smilers sheet and Smilers souvenir First Day Cover and are pleased
to announce the following new Themed Sheet design and First Day Cover
postmarked Plymouth and dated 16th August 2018.
Both are available to purchase on-line by clicking either
of the above images, or you can pre-order by sending me an e-mail
with your requirements. Due to existing holiday arrangements (which my
wife tells me I cannot change) I will not be able to dispatch them until
first week in September so you can delay payment if you wish until last
week in August. Our prices for these collectibles are £37.50 per full
sheet of 20 stamps/labels, £20 per half sheet and £5.95 per cover which
comes with an illustrated insert card containing further details of
Captain Cook's voyage on HMS Endeavour. All prices include p+p.
Jersey Holidays for Heroes Commemorative Sheet
Whilst the news for customised stamp sheet collectors is less than
heartening on the mainland with the cessation of the Business Customised
and Personalised Stamp Sheet services, news from the islands is more optimistic!
Jersey Post have just announced a new commemorative sheet to celebrate the
10th anniversary of local charity, Holidays for Heroes Jersey.
"This fantastic charity provides free holidays in Jersey for
members of HM Armed Forces injured during their service. Made up of twenty
UK Letter stamps affixed to stamp labels, the sheet features photographs
showing some of the charity’s fundraising activities as well as families
enjoying their Jersey holidays."
We will be stocking this sheet, priced £25.00, so if interested please
e-mail me in the first instance. (17/07)
The Last Business Customised Smilers at STAMPEX?
The Philatelic Traders Society (PTS) look like being the source of the
last Business Customised Stamp Sheet from the Royal Mail following the latter's
announcement earlier this year that the service would close at the end of
The PTS have recently announced a stunning new Smilers sheet which will
be on sale at the 2018 Autumn STAMPEX event and which could prove popular
as a nostalgic memento of STAMPEX Smilers sheets past and present.
The preliminary catalogue reference for this sheet is
BC-514 which will sadly close a chapter on this aspect of the Smilers
story. Over 500 different designs have emerged since their launch in 2002
with just a handful giving rise to perforation and printing varieties for
the faithful to chase down. Some are so rare that only a very few seem to
have survived and found their way to the collector market (Portsmouth
FC). The story continues in the shape of Royal Mail's so-called commemorative
sheets which by any measure are nothing more than home-grown business
customised sheets - a case of game-keeper turned poacher perhaps!
Personalised Smilers Service to the Public to Close
Whilst on holiday recently I received an e-mail from Royal Mail
containing the following announcement:
"The personalised Smilers® service is going to be put on hold
for an indefinite period from this summer as we launch a new online shop.
Consumers will not be able to order personalised Smilers® sheets when the
new web platform goes live until further notice.
We are introducing a web platform this summer which will
significantly improve customers’ user experience and in preparing the
migration to the new website we have reviewed the range of online products
and services that we offer. Following this review we have taken the
decision not to migrate the Personalised Smilers® service to the new shop
when it goes live at the end of July.
The last date for consumer orders for Smilers will be 5pm on
Thursday 26th July 2018.
Whilst we will not offer the Smilers® service online or to the
public we are retaining the print capability for personalised stamp sheets
for Corporate purposes, Key Accounts and other business requirements so we
will be able to continue to process any orders you may have."
Whilst I am not entirely surprised at this development I was surprised
to learn that they would continue to be available to Key Account
customers, i.e. the philatelic trade. I think we can consider this
an interim arrangement which goes someway to make up for the loss of the
Business Customised stamp sheets service but depending upon interest from
the philatelic trade I can't see this continuing for very
Apparently, the cost of migrating the Smilers service from one web
platform to the other outweighed the commercial benefit to Royal Mail.
Business speak for "they are not that popular any more and it's not
worth us spending money on something that does not make a big
profit." That's privatised business for you! (13/07)